by Sharon L. Perry, Founder
Agent Orange Legacy - Children of Vietnam Veterans
I have received many contact forms from people who visit our website. The one that stands out the most is from a Vietnam veteran who wrote, "wow someone does care".
As I read his message I was moved by his words.
I know what it is like to watch your children suffer. I have felt as he does, still do. I have not only felt helpless, I was helpless and alone. The worst part is that my child was more alone than I was. We endured years of pain and suffering without the understanding or support from our family, friends, neighbors, our community or our country.
It is especially painful for Vietnam veterans who still question how the country they loved could have turned their backs on them. The most disturbing part of his message is that his children suffer because of his service and how it gnaws at his soul.
The people who understand this the most, are the families of veterans exposed to agent orange. I understand, having experienced this same suffering with my own children. The sad part is that it took my husband's untimely death to motivate me to reach out to other families.
What I have learned since I started reaching out to other families of Vietnam veterans exposed to agent orange is heartbreaking. The message from this one veteran alone sums up the experiences of many our families quite well.
In his message he wrote about his children. One child born deaf, the other child born blind - slightly retarded. Their struggle to make their lives normal, no regrets. He continued to write about how overwhelming this legacy is, how he wants to shout out, "why?".
In amongst all this heartbreak, I find the most peculiar thing; optimism. Although I did nothing but read his message he thanked me for letting him share after all these years.